OXFORDSHIRE County Council has confirmed that a temporary mortuary is being set up at a former United States Air Force base in the north of the county in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The facility for storing dead bodies has been created at Heyford Park site of RAF and USAF Upper Heyford

The council is working with the NHS and the coroner's office, and said the unit would be used 'if required'.

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In a statement it explained: "In common with all other areas of the country there are longstanding contingency plans to provide extra mortuary space during emergency situations.

"Partners from organisations including the NHS, registration services, coroner’s office and local authorities have been meeting regularly to consider requirements that may be placed upon Oxfordshire during the Coronavirus outbreak.

"This has led to a temporary facility being prepared at the former RAF base at Heyford Park, which will be used if required."

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The council insisted that those running the new facility would have a 'very strong commitment to the dignity and respect required in dealing with the deceased and bereaved families, including all faiths and traditions'.

It added that all normal standards and protocols relating to mortuary facilities would be observed at the site, which will be managed in line with national requirements.

The council also said the site will be managed in a way that does not cause difficulties for residents in the local area, including those in the village of Upper Heyford.